Posted on | January 17, 2013 | 10 Comments
When I first became a mom, I had visions of grandeur: there would be epic vacations, tea parties, forts in the living room. We would play freeze tag in the front yard and hide and seek in the back. We would snuggle up at night and read book after book after book. I would spend my time cuddling, kissing boo boos, teaching the proper way to pedal a bike, tie a shoe, or read words. I would know every scratch and scrape and bruise that dared show its face on the perfect canvas of my son’s small body.
And for the first 8 weeks of my son’s life, it was… sort of like that. I mean, I was there for everything, at least physically… though the sleep deprivation sort of stole my brain from my body. I learned his faces: his smiles, his cries, the way he would dart his eyes just slightly to the side when something startled him. I learned that I loved spending my days snuggled close to him as he slept but also that I craved my days cozied up to a computer.
After eight weeks, the routine shifted and with the shifting came a new understanding that my entire concept of motherhood was skewed towards being a stay at home mom. Because that’s what I had growing up. Because that’s what the movies show. Because that’s what television tells me is the most freaking fun ever. (Yes, I get it… it’s not all fun and games. But the parts that become rosy and bright in your mind are the lazy summer afternoons and dammit, working moms and kids of working parents? They don’t get lazy summer afternoons. Ever.)
The older J gets, the more I crave those moments I thought I’d have… the games and pretend play, the trips to the park… the TIME. Lately, by the time I get off work our routine is more: pick up from daycare, fight all the way home about why the IPad is not in the car and why J can not unbuckle his car seat during the trip, haul it into the house where I spend the next hour fending off every question imaginable from the world’s neediest toddler (“Can you get my juice? Where’s my dinner? Can I watch television? Watch me do this. Can you get my juice? Can you get my juice? Can you get my juice?”). Then it’s time for bath and by the time we fight our way through that, it’s time to put on pajamas and think about bedtime.
What happened to the moments I dreamed about? What became of the motherhood in my head? The rosy, sweet, blowing away wishes on dandelions times that I pictured so vividly in my head? When did they become replaced with the rushing, bustling, mundane existence of getting up, getting dressed, getting paid, and getting to sleep? As working parents, it’s so easy to lose that time… to lose those moments when the world stops, even for a second, and sighs with the delight of being held in the hands of a three year old.
I keep trying to find those moments. I’m get up earlier, get home sooner, get engaged quicker at the end of the day. But it’s so hard… it’s hard to find the shut off switch… the blinking red light that tells your work brain to disengage and tells your inner June Cleaver to forget about the after school cookies. We try so hard to be everything, don’t we? Best employee, best wife, best mom… we don’t want our children to miss out on those moments.
But lately, I’ve realized that by trying so hard to be more than present … I’m missing too much.
I’m missing the moments I HAVE by trying to create moments to remember… and that just doesn’t make sense at all.
Since this year is all about embracing, I’m going to start embracing the moments I’m given… the snuggles in front of the television, the “Will you play a game with me,” and even the “Can I have more juice”… even when I’m tired, even when I’m stressed. Because not only does my son deserve that… I deserve that. The moments we have are, well, all we have. So I’ve got to stop searching for more and be content with now.
Even if it means another damn cup of juice…